Okay, San Antonio. We all made it through our big snow day, and while it may be another 30 years before we see whiteout conditions here again, it was the perfect reminder that we DO get winter weather in the Alamo City. Cold temperatures and icy conditions are a part of most winters here, and now is the time to make sure you are prepared for them.
In thinking about my own preparedness for winter storms, I took a look at several websites and found some helpful information I thought I’d share. Ready.gov has some great resources on making an emergency plan for your family, as well as a checklist of what to put in your emergency supply kit to make it comfortably through extended power outages. They also have a kit to create for your pets.
Texas Department of Public Service has some good home winterization tips. One I found interesting is finding the shutoff valve for the water to the house. For most of us, there is a hole with a metal cover in the front yard somewhere that has a meter and valve, but how many of us know where it is, where our shutoff tool is, and how to use it? A burst pipe can cause an incredible amount of damage, and everyone in the house, from young teens to adults, should be aware of the valve’s location, and try their hand at operating it. If you aren’t sure how to do it, Mr. Plumber SA has a great video you can find by clicking on the link.
Did you leave a restaurant on Friday to find an inch of snow on your car, or wake up in the morning with twice that on your windshield? Put a scrapper in your car to be prepared for unexpected ice and snow. A warm blanket and some kitty litter wouldn’t hurt either. (If your vehicle gets stuck on a slick road, cat litter can help create the traction you need to get out. The non-clumping kind works best for extra traction on slick roads.) Better safe than sorry. And to settle the old argument, the proper way to defrost your car windshield, according to Car and Driver is:
- Defroster fan on highest setting
- Temperature control on its hottest
- A/C turned on
- Recirculate turned off
- Crack your windows
You can also find a cool 6-minute video about the science behind this at the link I included.
A last note on winter safety: please check your carbon monoxide (CO) detector’s batteries! Experts recommend that you change yours every year during daylight savings time, but if you missed out, do it today. Any time you burn fuel in stoves, lanterns, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces, CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and you have no way of knowing if you are at risk without a working detector.
I hope everyone enjoyed our little version of a white Christmas, and that you all take this opportunity to make sure you stay safe and sound for the rest of the season.